[17:00] I decided to get up a tiny bit earlier this morning, as I will for the
next few days, to make Sunday morning when the clocks go forward just a little
more tolerable. I have no problem going to bed a little earlier to compensate,
if necessary. Cycling to work I was hopeful there'd be a solution to the three
sever issue I was having with regard to RAID battery identification. Let's just
say that today has been a fruitful, but not necessarily solution-ful day. I and
the Dell engineer have ascertained under what circumstances the monitoring
software thinks the RAID controller battery is missing, but not really
why. I also got the chance to patch and update the two other servers
out of the four this afternoon. One of them is definitely a bit weird somewhere
inside as it had real trouble applying a pair of BIOS and RAID controller
firmware updates and required some urgent calls to Dell to get going again.
Apparently it's all patched and up to date now, but certain bits of software
still don't act quite like they should. I'm always going to be a bit wary of
it, even though it's one of the four newest servers we have.
Over lunch I ran a simple 30 minute recovery run to give me a bit more energy
for tomorrow's much harder session. I'm going to head home now and have a nice
quiet evening, hopefully with a slightly better quality of sleep tonight than
[17:15] I've had an annoying day today, with the highlight only being my run out
to do hill reps with Max for company. Three of the four newest physical servers
I set up a few weeks ago have decided to announce that their RAID controller
batteries are "Missing". This is not a good thing for a variety of technical
reasons I won't go in to. I've spent the entire day in email communication with
the manufacturer trying to upgrade firmwares and schedule reboots where
possible. I'm pretty sure one of the servers has two issues going on which
(after input from me) could result in it bricking itself when I finally do get
to reboot it. So that'll be fun.
Nothing else has gone on, other than that I got an email from Rachel before she
vanished into deepest Africa saying that she was OK and was taking her Malarone.
I hope she comes back safely, and unbitten.
[17:20] A packed weekend started on Friday when I left as late as I could into
the power down arrangements and jumped on a train to London. By the time I got
there and to a hotel close to the Shard I was famished, so dropped off my bag
and immediately power-walked to the nearest GBK for a burger, sweet potato
fries, and a second burger. With a few newspapers from the hotel to read I had
a great time just sitting around eating and drinking a refillable drink until I
thought it might be time to give up the table (the place wasn't full). Back at
the hotel I was practically asleep by the time Rachel arrived back from the play
she'd been seeing with her parents (also staying at the hotel). In the morning
we all had breakfast together, then relaxed a while before Rachel went to play
hockey, her parents went to see another play, and I got on the Tube to
Bermondsey to do my Saturday run session in Southwark Park. It was a pretty
enjoyable one, although I was a bit disappointed in my GPS watch, which got a
bit confused in the same place twice and gave some incorrect readings. Still,
given the intensity of the session and how cold and snowy it was it was just
good to get it done and get back to the hotel. I had a shower, and then managed
to spend an hour trying to get the run data from the watch to Rachel's laptop
without a cable (I assumed the Bluetooth functionality was more... functional
than it actually was, and I had to re-enable Bluetooth on the laptop too), then
had a bit of lunch just as Rachel arrived back, victorious, from her hockey
game. We relaxed for a bit, then headed out with her parents for a really
delicious mean at a meze place not too far from the hotel. When we got back I
was in something of a food coma so went to bed while Rachel went to their room
to catch up. On Sunday morning Rachel and I opted not to do the long run so
early in the morning that we'd make it back for breakfast, so slept in for the
last time in a while (more on that below) and then had a leisurely breakfast
with her parents again. After that we all checked out, walked to a Tube
station to see the parents off, then to a train station for Rachel and I to head
back to Croydon. Fairly soon after we got back we headed out for a 2 hour 20
minute training run of increasing intensity which seemed to go fairly well,
although the hills made perfect pacing impossible, which chafed a bit for me.
We still had time for a nice lunch and for Rachel to pack for another Africa
trip before we got the tram to the train station. Trains were delayed left and
right by the weather so Rachel got an earlier one to Gatwick Airport and I
eventually just got on a train to Victoria so I could make my way across London
by Tube and make my train home. Happily I made it with plenty of time to spare
and was able to cycle from my home station to my house in the dark on lovely
empty (and dry) roads. The heating was working when I got home, too!
This morning I made a bit of an attempt to get in a little earlier to help with
the restarts, but pretty much everything had already been done on Sunday
afternoon. I dealt with a few hardware issues where I could and have been doing
the IT equivalent of sweeping up the little bits for the remainder of the day
along with my usual Monday morning stuff. I'm about to head home now to go to
Tesco for the week and then while away an evening without Rachel, who doesn't
get back until Sunday.
[17:30] Happy birthday to my brother! Hopefully I'll get a chance to call him
today. We've been having a busy one today sorting out things ready for the
power down this evening. I cycled over to the data center where this is taking
place twice as the workstation I reinstalled had issues with its networking
after I reinstalled it as RHEL7 (was RHEL6). All of this afternoon we've been
gleefully shutting down servers, fully aware that at least a few won't power up
cleanly on Sunday (when I won't be here) or Monday (when I will). There are
bound to be hardware issues that I have to open calls about. Hopefully nothing
data-destructive will happen, though.
In a moment I'll be leaving work to head to London to have dinner on my own and
then head to a hotel for two nights with Rachel and her parents (although
they're in a different room, obviously). On Saturday I'll be doing my run in a
London park while Rachel plays hockey and her parents go to a museum or
something. Then we all have dinner together in the evening. On Sunday morning
Rachel and I are going to attempt to run before breakfast finishes at the hotel,
and then spend a bit of time together before she flies off to Africa for a week.
I'll end up back home on Sunday night before heading into work on Monday morning
early enough to get some servers back before users need them, probably.
[17:30] For being here later than I should be, it's not like a lot happened
today. The Nessus scan is still running, and looks like it might be
going for a while yet. I think it's going very slowly now and doing only a few
hosts, probably workstations, at this point. We'll have to stop it tomorrow
lunchtime if for no other reason than we don't want it being a complicating
factor when we start powering down servers for the weekend power work at one of
the server rooms.
Over lunch time I did the week's hard session (8x1km at 3:50/km) and just about
managed it, although I was so tired towards the end I had trouble
remembering/working out if I'd done the right amount. Turns out I had,
thankfully, but it was pretty confusing for my oxygen-starved brain. After I'd
had some lunch and a drink I cycled over to the more remote server room to do a
brief bit of hardware maintenance. Other than that today has been about keeping
things runnning and getting ready for tomorrow, which is probably going to be a
bit hit and miss as to how well everything goes. Unfortunately, I'm going to
have to leave before everything gets powered down and I was hoping to meet
Rachel and her parents in London before they went to see a play, but it doesn't
look like that's going to happened. However, I am aiming to get to the hotel
we're all staying at at least in time to eat dinner at a sensible-ish time. For
now though, I'm going home to see if I can find my favourite hat, which seems to
have gone missing. Hopefully it's just behind a radiator or something.
[17:05] Well it's a day and a working day later and the Nessus scan is still
going. The good news is that it doesn't seem to be affecting normal network
traffic, so that's something. In other news I finally got the HDD that went
AWOL yesterday and was able to get it installed, apparently without any hitches
at all, which was nice. Over lunch time I did a gentle recovery run, which was
also nice. And this afternoon I've mainly been trying to think about the switch
off schedule for Friday afternoon/evening which I won't be around for the latter
part of as I'm heading to London to see Rachel and her parents for the weekend.
Oh, and another server managed to break its fan/blower tray, so I've hopefully
got a replacement coming for that tomorrow, which I'll have to cycle over and
I guess that's about it, really. Not a lot going on for me otherwise.
[17:40] Headed into work this morning to start the Nessus scan of the entire
network I'm 'responsible' for. After starting it dead on 09:30 it's still
going. I anticipate that it'll finish some time around about 19:30 this
evening. Possibly later. Hopefully it won't get in the way of the backup
window. In any event, other than watching that all day I didn't get to replace
a HDD in a fairly vital server as the company shipping the hard drive sent it to
the wrong address (still within my organisation) so I'm stuck waiting on the
internal mail service to get it to me. This will hopefully happen tomorrow
morning, although I had been thinking it would be just after lunch today. So
basically after I got back from doing my hill reps. run next to the cemetery.
I've ordered a new rear cassette for the bike as the chain seems to be slipping
on at least two of the gears at the back there due to wear. It seems a shame
considering probably the seven other gears are still perfectly usable. I'll
need to bother Cormac for a chain whip and cassette tool at some point as I
don't own them myself. Other than that the day has been spent thinking about
the massive power down we'll be doing on Friday afternoon (when I'd been hoping
to leave early to get to London to see Rachel) in preparation for the first
weekend of power work at one of our server rooms (same thing will be happening
the following weekend, too).
[17:40] So... I have heating again. Although I shouldn't celebrate too much in
case it goes wrong again. I'm now going to be eternally paranoid about going
home to a cold house because it has gone wrong again. Anyway, the plumber
arrived after about thirty minutes of me cooling down after cycling home at the
speed of sound. He fitted the parts (one of which I don't think I needed to
have bought, so I kept the old one as a spare) and everything fired up. He did
some tests and things look to be pretty efficient in terms of gas burning. He
did discover an issue with the flue, but that should be solved at the end of May
when I have the thing extended due to the EWI being fitted. Rachel then arrived
later in the evening and there was much rejoicing. On Saturday we didn't get up
all that early, which was lovely. Then we headed into town to pick out
some new glasses frames for me. By the time that was done we only really had
time to go and get a GBK burger for lunch (delicious) and then I saw Rachel off
for her train to play hockey back in Croydon. I cycled home and spent some time
cleaning and tidying the house a bit, doing the washing up, and then putting a
new chain and outer chain ring on the bike. I definitely need to get a new
cassette (despite pretty much all but one of the rings being fine), but I think
it can wait a few weeks. I also went to Tesco so we didn't have to do it later.
Rachel got back from her hockey game and heroic cleaning up and turning around
to leave her house late in the evening, so we had a nice jacket potato dinner
and then went to bed as soon as we'd digested. On Sunday morning we ran a
semi-trail/road marathon. While an organised race with numbers and everything
we more ran it as a full distance training run. I was looking forward to a nice
steady 5:00/km pace for the whole way round (accounting for terrain, contours,
road crossings, and mud) but really felt like I was dragging badly by around
30km in (a marathon is 42.2km). We ran together, with two friends (one of them
Max, but the other an old rowing friend, too). Max vanished off with about
7km or so to go and finished a minute under my target time. We finished three
minutes over my target time, which was a bit disappointing. Not a lot I can do
about that, really. After getting clean and fed at the start/finish point we
cycled home and spent the rest of the day groaning quietly on the sofa and
watching Mad Men and Attenborough documentaries.
Unfortunately Rachel needed to be away horribly early this morning, so that,
coupled with leg ache, meant that neither of us slept all that well last night.
However, she got on her way and I managed a fitful doze for a few more hours
before I got up. At work I fought a few small fires, arranged for a new part to
be delivered tomorrow (hopefully before something else goes wrong in that area)
and prepared for the Nessus scan I should have run last Tuesday (when this time
last week I managed to destroy the server the scanner was installed on). Over
lunch, having sent a very detailed race report to my coach, I didn't run the
hill reps. he'd initially had me down for, but graciously gave me a 30min
recovery run instead, which I happily nailed (rather than running faster than
asked for). Here's hoping I feel a bit more spritely for tomorrow's actual hill
I'm heading home now, to do more of what I was advised by my coach: keep off my
feet and relax. Although around 20:00 I'm apparently going to help the other
friend we ran with yesterday move a bed around his house.
[14:40] Plumber just called and wants me home so he can fit the replacement
parts, so no entry today. Have a good weekend. I'll be running a gentle
[16:15] Things started badly this morning when I had my first bike puncture in a
while (rear). Luckily it was within five minutes walk of the cycle shop I
prefer. After a bit of pleading they agreed to put a new inner tube in and I
was on my way in less than fifteen minutes, which was great. At work I settled
down to do a healthy amount of VM reconfiguration which resulted in twenty being
deleted and two created, with two being recreated with new details. Other than
some Ansible woes everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. Which was nice.
Over lunch time I had a call with my coach who set my mind at ease a bit with
regard to my half marathon performance and upcoming marathon performance. He
also had some useful advice for the marathon I'm running this weekend.
I'm now leaving early to go to the cinema as I've had it up here with our
absolutely useless helpdesk system.
[17:40] It was nice to get in this morning and know that the server I'd rebuilt
yesterday was working fine. I also somehow managed to turn off my alarm
yesterday at some point so woke at around 07:35 thinking that it was far
brighter outside than it should have been without the radio having come on.
Luckily I wasn't late (especially as I can't shower at home at the moment, more
on that in a moment), so could get up, do all the morning stuff and still get to
work on time. The morning went smoothly, with me doing this and that to keep
the place ticking over. I had a few niggles with Ansible, but nothing too
annoying. Over lunch I went to the track to actually run around the 1km
perimeter path eight times, but it was blocked off due to to ground work taking
place. This meant that I ended up back on the track after all, which might have
contributed to my reasonably good times for the remaining seven 1km intervals.
After the half marathon on Sunday and how I felt immediately afterwards (fine),
I think I need to start working on overriding - or at least recalibrating - what
I should think/feel when I've been running hard for a period of time.
Previously the feeling I was feeling would mean I was close to
bonking/crashing/running out of energy and having to slow down. However, all
this training appears to have pushed back that point, possibly by some
considerable distance. I perhaps need to start thinking about continuing to
push for longer, and working out where my new 'breaking' point is. Before the
Manchester Marathon if at all possible.
In other news, my boiler remains broken. I called the plumber who's ordering
parts for it at the moment and he's had trouble getting them from the
manufacturer. There's an outside chance they'll arrive on Friday, in which case
he'll try to come over on Friday (afternoon?) and fit them and get me back up
and running for the weekend. We'll see, though.
[18:20] I was really grateful that Rachel arrived home within five minutes of me
last night. After yesterday's debacle it was nice to have some company and a
hug or two. I even managed to forget how stupid I'd been for a while, and how
cold it is in the house without heating for the fourth day in a row. We had
dinner quite soon after we got home, watched the second half of Out of Africa
(not the film I thought it was), and then went to bed in the cold. Although it
was nice to not be cold for long.
This morning we both left for work and, at least in my case, enjoyed it not
being quite as cold as it has been previously. At work my colleagues and I
tried for an hour or to to capitalise on the progress I made late last night,
but to no avail. In the end I just started the build of a new (updated) VM, and
hoped that the backups that we did have would be enough to rebuild everything.
After a few hours of work, running an hour of fartleks over lunch, and a lot of
help from other people I'm pleased to report that I think I have
everything back the way it was before, only on RHEL7 rather than RHEL6, and with
a larger amount of storage capacity (which is only what I was aiming for at the
beginning of this whole adventure). I've learned a useful and valuable lesson
about snapshotting whenever I might be doing something that could mess things
up, and I've got this server added to the Veeam backup system, too, which does
that sort of thing automatically every night anyway.
Now it's time to go home and have a relaxing, and longer, evening.
[19:35] The run this weekend was overshadowed by my messing up severely at work
this morning and managing to break a rather useful VM in what is probably a
terminal way. I and a colleage have spent most of the day trying to rescue it,
but it's not looking all that good at this point in the day. Which is
frustrating as I really need to go home soon to meet Rachel who's wonderfully
decided to come back again this evening.
We had a great, but cold, weekend together. The boiler is definitely broken and
won't be fixed until later this week. This meant the whole weekend the house
was below 9 degrees centigrade. This wasn't all that pleasant, but we got by
with lots of layers, blankets, hot drinks, and clothes in bed. On Sunday we ran
a half marathon. I managed to stay ahead of her, and run a pretty good time,
but it was still slower than last year, and slower again than the year before.
Maybe I've had my peak. On the plus side I recovered incredibly quickly from
it, which could mean that I could and should have pushed harder. It's something
I'll discuss with my coach on Wednesday lunch time.
[16:55] Happily, Rachel arrived safely last night, by bike, in the cold and wind
(but thankfully no snow). The heating continued to work (although I'm a little
worried it might be broken as it should have been on during the day today),
although when we headed upstairs the house was as cold as ever relative to
downstairs. This morning we had a hard time getting up as we were both pretty
shattered. For my own part I was not only tired, but at some point during my
broken night of sleep the top of my right foot very close to the ankle
really started to hurt, such that I couldn't point my foot, and I'm a
little concerned I won't be able to run the half marathon on Sunday morning.
I've been stretching and moving it all of today, will do so more tonight and
take it easy tomorrow, too. Rachel worked from home today, although she might
have gone for a run and a Tesco trip at some point, I'm not sure. If her hockey
match back in London hadn't been cancelled tomorrow she also would have taken a
short train journey up the line to the next stop to collect her hockey stick,
boots, and shinpads which she left on the train last night. Happily (sort of)
hockey has been cancelled so we're going to take a trip together tomorrow to
collect her stuff and also have lunch there (it's a nice place). The plan for
tomorrow is: get up, do a 30 minute "leg loosener" if my foot feels good,
otherwise do something else, have a shower, go and get my hair cut (probably a
bad idea to lose insulation on the top of my head in this weather, but I really
do need a trim), come home, have another shower, then head to the closer train
station, maybe take the bikes on the train, get to the station, ascertain that
her stuff is in lost property, go for lunch, come back to the station, collect
stuff, train back, hunker down at home for the rest of the day and get ready for
Sunday. Sunday morning will see a fairly early cycle to the boat house where
we'll leave our stuff and keep warm for as long as possible. Then it'll be over
the river, into the start area, and then run. I may have to take an ibuprofen
or two to ensure that I don't feel my foot until afterwards. The remainder of
Sunday may involve a trip to Tesco after lunch, but that's about it.
I'll tell you everything that happens (or doesn't!) on Monday. For now I'm off
to collect our race numbers/packs, and then head home in the snow.
[17:35] A whole evening of heat was available to me when I got home at around
16:00 yesterday. The boiler guy had got everything up and running again, which
was great. There are two replacement parts he needs to fit in a few weeks, but
everything should keep going until then, apparently. I left the radiators on
all evening and eventually the house heated up nicely. Well the downstairs did.
The upstairs (and the shower room) remains stubbornly chilly in winter and
something I really hope is fixed by the installation of the EWI in a
few months. I had a good chat with the guy and we even discussed replacing two
of the radiators upstairs which really are too small for the rooms they're
trying (and desperately failing) to heat. Not sure when that'll happen, but as
he was the person who fitted all the heating in the house I'll probably go with
him as he'll know most about what's hidden from sight under the floors, etc.
Anyway, that's the heating fixed for the time being. Not so much Rachel's
boiler, which I hear is pretty broken at the moment. Plus there being issues
surrounding getting it repaired and/or parts for it. It may be time for a new
one. At least she's had the leak in it stopped, which is a positive. As she
lives above someone else there's very little chance of her pipes freezing while
she has no heating or hot water. Her shower is electric, luckily. Unlike mine.
Although I was having all of my showers at work anyway given that for three
weeks I didn't have a shower at home, and I was running pretty much every
Workwise there's been some stuff going on. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a
whole load of finicky stuff that I've had to do repeatedly to iron out all of
the tiny little issues. Over lunch I went out in the cold, windy, snowy (a bit)
weather, and ran for an hour at less than half marathon race pace, with a view
to running a little bit faster (I hope) this weekend.
Rachel's coming to see me tonight and, I think, working from (my) home tomorrow,
which'll be lovely. Then she'll be running a little tomorrow (to pick up her
bike, as she'll be getting a taxi home tonight), and we'll go and collect our
race packs tomorrow afternoon after I finish work. For now though I'm going to
head home as safely as I can.